Welcome to the great outdoors! Our sprawling urban centers are always alive, pulsating with subway cars or other rapid transit, forward thinking universities and their researchers, and technology firms consistently coming out with exciting innovations. And all of that is wonderful most of the time. Access to coffee shops, arts and culture, and progressive or unusual ideas are a delight. The city is awake and requires everyone to muster a definite amount of energy to keep themselves going but also to propagate all of these concepts.
Yet, what happens when our bodies ache or fatigue sets in? What are some of the remedies to urban life, to electricity going all the time enabling street lamps and electronic gadget charging stations to keep all the excitement going? Where do people need to go in order to find their charging stations and deliberately go offline for a while?
The answer is wilderness. The urban denizens already program (no pun intended) yoga or Pilates or the gym into their schedules. But when happens when we need more than just the quiet of Shavasana after one of our favorite yoga classes or the endorphins from cardio and weights? How do we revert back from human-doings to human-beings? Perhaps it’s time to look at the rapid transit maps that go further than local service or check the apps and maps for something with a lot more innate green space. In other words, move your yoga and mindfulness practice to the great outdoors. Getting in a good hike helps with longevity and wellness and, with yoga added in, just that much faster and appreciable an amount of stress reduction.
Yoga can be done before, during, or after hiking. The yoga poses performed on the flat, smooth floors and mats in our yoga studios can adapt easily to the natural floor of campsites, unpaved parking areas, and the hills themselves (provided none of them are slippery from condensation or ice).
One of the many beauties of yoga is its versatility and ability to be practiced anytime, anywhere. So all the more reason to work yoga poses into hiking. And being flexible, or having yet to become flexible is seldom to never an issue.
While it is established that hiking is great for stress relief, it is more important to maximize our time away from the urban centers regardless of progressiveness.
These are the more commonly performed yoga asanas connected to hiking. It is good to hold each pose for five to seven breaths. Take some great pictures and show them to your friends when you get home!
- A good intro is Forward Fold, once your torso is as down as possible – folding your
arms if they cannot reach the ground is always fine – really engage your hamstrings so they are prepared for the hike, have your sits bones face the sky, bend your knees so you can bring your torso down as far as possible without injury.
- Move into Downward Facing Dog, first start by getting all floors on the ground in plank pose and then raise your hips so you look like a dog stopping to smell something, the trick is roll away your shoulders and make your tailbone point upward.
- Low Lunge, from Downward Facing Dog put one knee on the ground and send the other knee “skyward”, use this as the your opportunity to press your hips together and give them a good stretch.
- In Pyramid Pose (it actually starts in Standing Mountain Pose), move your feet about one yard apart, if possible point your toes out 45 degrees, inhale and send your arms straight over your head, keep your hips facing forward, and bend down toward your right leg with your arms dropping in the promise, if you are pliable enough see if your forehead can touch your right knee, lift your torso up and gently transition to the right knee with the same challenge with your forehead
- Take a minute to get back into Mountain Pose, this general pose is one of the “halfway points” from one pose to the next as you are standing as tall as possible and seeing if you can get your back to stretch upward, a great help with posture, especially if you plan on lugging a knapsack; if you need a rejuvenating stretch while on a hike do the modified Mountain Pose: lie down your back and put your feet up on a boulder or side of a hill.
- Coming down the hill or once back at the camp site consider doing Rock Lunges, start by standing as tall as possible, put your left foot on a rock (put your ankle in your hands if you are sore), lengthen your spine just like Mountain Pose, stretch your arms up nice and high so the circulation really travels in and out of your arms, repeat by placing your left foot back on the ground and placing your right foot up on top of the same rock.
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